Orwell Bridge

Happy birthday to the Orwell Bridge

May 25, 2021 News

Here in Suffolk you will find the mighty Orwell Bridge, which stands as one of the most significant and well-known feats of engineering in the region, if not the country. When it first opened to traffic nearly forty years ago, it was the longest pre-stressed concrete span in the UK. With appearances in Hollywood action films, many a local postcard, and more than a few TV dramas, it has become an iconic part of the landscape.

A legacy on the built environment.

The Orwell Bridge is a reminder of a huge engineering legacy for the people of the town. Engineering doesn’t just shape the present, it also shapes the future. The bridge might have been desperately needed at the time, but its capacity was also designed to factor in the increasing volumes of traffic our growing society required. Even now, four decades on, it is still only at around 86% of its max capacity.

Those engineers who worked on the designs, at Sir William Halcrow & Partners, might have retired, but the decisions they made still have a huge impact on Suffolk. Their work has freed town centres from heavy dock traffic, and continues to be used every day by 60,000 or so vehicles. They can be proud that the Orwell Bridge has stood the test of time, and will most likely continue to serve the changing needs of the community for many more decades.

At JMS, we are still building our legacy. At a time when government investment in improved infrastructure is at record levels, we are tackling our own landmarks. We are supporting architects and developers to change the way towns and cities look and feel all over the country. And while we might bring innovation and new methods of construction to the table for our clients, one day they won’t be new, they will simply be a part of the landscape. We are setting standards, and considering the needs of the future. Because the projects we are involved in won’t just serve the needs of our current population. They will serve their children, and grandchildren.

Engineering the future.

Our engineering work is designed to support a changing world. Over the next few decades, more people will live in our cities, greater demand will be put on our transport links, and climate change could bring increased levels of rainfall and flood risks. Everything we do is designed to meet those challenges head on.

Which is why sometimes, it’s important to think back to the challenges our predecessors faced, and the decisions they made. Their future is our present, and we’re thankful they took our needs into account.

Who knows, one day, maybe the engineers of tomorrow will look back on the work we’re doing now, and draw inspiration from our legacy on the built environment. We certainly hope so.

Find out more about our civil and structural engineering services here.

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